The Competition Spoofs “The On-Your-Side Guy named Andy” ,Some Veterans at a Former NYTimes Station are Let Go to Make Way for “Fresh Faces” and Watch Out for Fire Ants!

Imagine this: A TV station decides to spoof the local in-your-face high-profile reporter at the competition who is known for being On-Your-Side. Oh yah, the reporter’s name is Andy. Right now, some of your are thinking, is somebody in Memphis cracking on WREG’s Andy Wise. No, but the former NYTimes station in Norfolk, VA is cracking on Andy Fox, the consumer reporter at WAVY, the top station in the market. The tongue in cheek promo, which got a mention in TVSpy, is according to the newspaper an attempt by the also-ran WTKR to bring some attention to itself. The article also takes issue with the whole “On Your Side” slogan which has been a mainstay for WAVY-TV for some time. According to the newspaper article:
But, he added, let’s call a spade a spade: WAVY’s gotten away with a say-nothing slogan for too long.

And on that point he’s absolutely right. The motto is notoriously bad. “On Your Side” implies a bias toward its viewers when much of the news business is supposed to be based on impartiality.

Well, alrighty then. I doubt seriously if either WAVY or WREG in Memphis which also uses the “On Your Side” slogan are going to change to another brand any time soon since it has served both well.

And that former NYTimes station in Norfolk has also made a move that is sure to send chills down the spines of folks at its sister stations in particular and get the attention of those at other stations in general. It has let two veteran news people go and is bringing on some “fresh faces” . The veterans had 10 and 11 years respectively at the station. That may not seem like much but in the TV business that is a long time at one station. Did it have anything to do with age? No way. That would open the station to a lawsuit. Did it have anything to do with money? It’s speculation on my part but I would bet that it did, especially since this station is an also-ran in the market and it’s cheaper to bring in fresh faces. Did it have anything to do with ability? Perhaps to some degree. But if it did, you would have thought the managers would have figured that out eight or nine years ago. So for those of you out there in TV land who think you’re bullet-proof, let this be a lesson. It’s all about the bottom line and “what you’ve done for me” lately. As The GM has reminded us time and time again on this blog, TV News is a business and anytime you have a business, you got people watching the bottom line.

And finally, a lesson learned the hard way here in the MidSouth. I’ve spent enough time in the outdoors to know what a fire ant mound looks like and I manage to avoid them like the plague. That is until Sunday when I was on a video shoot near I-55 in downtown Memphis. I WAS watching where I was going as I was walking along the Interstate scouting some locations for the camera. The next thing I know I have close to one hundred of the biting and stinging little critters on both of my legs. I never saw the mound. A couple minutes later, as I’m walking, I stop and discover more of the ants crawling on my legs. Again, I never saw the mounds but the ants sure discovered me. So, a word of caution. Be careful if you get off the beaten path.

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6 Comments on “The Competition Spoofs “The On-Your-Side Guy named Andy” ,Some Veterans at a Former NYTimes Station are Let Go to Make Way for “Fresh Faces” and Watch Out for Fire Ants!”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    So, you discovered the meaning of the phrase “ants in your pants…” This is the only thing worth reading on the internets anymore.

    To say something to the point made in the newspaper article, about the “say-nothing” slogan — seems the writer makes sense. If one station is “on your side,” does that mean the others are agin you? If another is “Eyewitness,” does that mean an impartial witness to the events of the day… and if so, does “Eyewitness Everywhere” mean that they’re really everywhere (especially since they rarely seem to go outside the city limits)? And what kind of “Action” is the other station taking? I think when these branding phrases were developed, they had a specific meaning as far as the format of the newscasts they were attached to… But nowadays, there doesn’t seem to be much specific difference between anyone’s news. Although, I could just be missing something.

  2. the tall tv guy Says:

    Good points, Doug. I’ve noticed the young faces of the reporters at Ch.3 in the last year or so. Isn’t there a bit of jealousy the newspapers have toward tv news? Newspapers have a big disadvantage, no instant coverage of big stories, readership is way down…I don’t get the Sunday CA anymore. But then, to be fair, I don’t watch a 10pm newscast like I used to either.

    Is there another market where most of the stations have been sold recently or going through that process? It’s funny, I met for an interview with a couple of top execs at Ch.5 and asked about the trend of selling stations. One answered, We’re Raycom and we operate stations successfully, we don’t sell ours. He then proceeded to explain why each ownership group was selling. An interesting reaction, but then, they’re the only ones not on the block!

  3. ExSpookExNews Says:

    Coincidentally, I spend time in both the Mid-South and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, and I’ve followed the travails of WTKR for years, off and on.

    The new reporter hires at WTKR, “Your NewsChannel 3….err, the station “Taking Action” are about what you’d expect: young, attractive and relatively inexperienced. I guess the news director at Channel 3 is hoping that no one notices that lack of experience until they can develop some sources and gain credibility in the market.

    From what I saw this evening, that may take a while. One of Channel 3’s new hires blew it on one of the day’s big stories, a tragic, near-fatal drowning at a home day care in the Norfolk area. She had only the barest details on the story–didn’t even know where the victim had been hospitalized, despite the fact that the accident occurred 24 hours ago.

    Over at WVEC, a reporter named Patrick Terpstra ran circles around Channel 3. He staged his liveshot outside the hospital where the child is in grave condition. And, with a little, elementary digging, he discovered that the home day care had failed an inspection on its pool a few months back–the same pool the child almost died in. Good video of the faulty latch on the pool gate–the reason for the failed inspection, and how the accident could have been prevented.

    Terpstra hasn’t been in the market that long, but his work–compared to that of Channel 3–is a reminder why WVEC has long been a market leader, and WTKR is in last place.

  4. joelarkins Says:

    You’ve struck the nail squarely on the head. Credibility is a huge key to the success of a TV news operation. You can have pretty/handsome faces everywhere but if they don’t have credibility, the viewers are generally smart enough to go someplace else. Notice I qualify that with the word “generally”. Viewers are like people eating at a restaurant. They want some substance presented to them on the plate. If they don’t get it, they probably won’t be back. A number of stations offer both substances and fluff. Those that have more substance generally will attract the viewers. A simple concept but not everybody gets it.

  5. NewsHawk Says:

    One correction: in Hampton Roads (Norfolk/Newport News/Virginia Beach market), WVEC actually ranks #1 in the ratings. WAVY has the number one newscast in the mornings and at 11 pm, while WVEC tops the other newscast, and has the most overall viewers from sunrise to sunset.

    As for WTKR, one big reason they consistently finish in last place is because they’re known for their revolving door of anchors/reporters. One memorable dismissal occurred about 10-12 years ago with meteorologist Dr. Duane Harding. That led to a storm of angry letters sent to the editorial section of the local paper. It’s been downhill from there, although WTKR always showed a lot of potential.

    However, in the last few months, they’ve slowly turned into a tabloid news station, to the point to where they look like “TMZ” or “Extra” (they air both shows, incidentally). ExSpook mentions the near-drowning indicent. The day after, they constantly referred to it as a drowning, even though the toddler survived. Last I checked, to drown means you have actually DIED. Just a couple of days later, there was a high school lockdown, and WTKR referred to it as a shooting, even though no one ever fired any shots. That’s irresponsible reporting, and this ad is just the latest of their laundry list of gimmicks and unprofessional practices as a station.

  6. joelarkins Says:

    Thanks for the clarification,

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